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Mark's quality art on show; Gallery.

Byline: DAVID HAMMOND

ATRIP over to Halifax led to worthwhile visits to the Piece Hall and Bankfield Galleries.

At the Piece Hall, there's a retrospective of 30 years of drawing and painting by Mark Murphy, of Sowerby Bridge.

Over at Bankfield there is textile work by Dionne Swift and at the same gallery, (until the end of February) are northern landscape paintings, with canals a prominent feature, by Alan Hardcastle, formerly of Huddersfield.

The Bankfield opens Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday afternoon (closed Mondays).

Mark Murphy's show at the Piece Hall (till February 21) is impressive both in its quality and range - landscapes, transcriptions and portraits.

After El Greco, the transcriptions include a very dark Agony in the Garden (conte crayon) and The Last Supper (charcoal and pastel colours).

A group of three paintings of The Day of Judgement (after Hieronymous Bosch) are in dark oil, which contrasts with several brighter interpretations of the same subject.

In fact, the vivid colours and virtually abstract treatment of some of them tend to make the fateful day look more exciting than daunting.

The town of Halifax (charcoal and pastel) is shown warts and all, with its pylons, chimneys and church towers in a mingled composition. A similar scene, in coloured pastel, is impressively handled.

Giles Gilbert Scott's All Souls Church, (charcoal) is another complex drawing, featuring the powerful religious architecture, but also including the tall flats and other buildings nearby.

In Sowerby Bridge and Cornholme, salient buildings are picked out, but the treatment is semi-abstract, with brooding atmosphere.

With the portraits, inspired by photographs, we move into a different world. Madelain Robinson (oil) presents a sunny face against a background of bright colours. John (pencil and mixed media) is the subject for two full-length studies in tee-shirt and jeans.

For mill-workers wanting a bit of nostalgia, it would be difficult to beat Not Just Run of the Mill, an exhibition of watercolours and acrylics by Janis Bowie, from Oldham, which features the occasional worker, but concentrates mainly on the complex machinery used in the manufacture of cloth.

As well as the looms, the artist introduces us to condenser bobbins, Schlafhorst cone winder, card fettler and Jenny gates. All her work shows realism and fine draughtsmanship, and also on display are vintage bobbins and shuttle.

This show runs until March 28.. DEWSBURY Arts Group's Spring exhibition opens at Batley Art Gallery tomorrow, and the exhibition will feature around 80 works by artists from the group.

Among those exhibiting will be Damian Clark, who works as a full-time painter from his home studio in Batley and takes most of his inspiration from the West Yorkshire landscape.

His painting, Burning Skies, features on the exhibition poster.

"I've been a member of Dewsbury Arts Group since 2006, and I've always felt proud to be part of such a prestigious group", he says.

He feels some of Yorkshire's most talented artists are among its members.

The show runs until March 6 at the gallery, Market Place.

Opening times are Monday and Wednesday 9.30am to 7pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm.

CAPTION(S):

* WARTS AND ALL: Mark Murphy's charcoal and pastel view of Halifax complete with pylons and church towers (S)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2010
Words:542
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